Design and Experimental Evaluation of a Panelized Brick Veneer Wall System for Serviceability and Safety Performance

Project: Research project

Project Details


Brick veneer walls are expected to perform satisfactorily under various serviceability and ultimate conditions including wind driven rain, high wind loads, earthquakes, and in some cases, blast. Conventional brick veneer with steel stud backup is a popular type of construction for most non-residential buildings because of the advantages that the light weight steel stud construction offers. However, high wind loads and wind driven rain can potentially cause cracking of the veneer and corrosion of metal ties. Innovative solutions can address these and other concerns and expectations including design against blast loads and appropriateness of the design for performance based design methodology. A novel panelized brick veneer on steel stud backup (PBVSS) wall system has been under development at Penn State University to address multi-hazard load resistant design. While the preliminary design of the PBVSS concept has resulted in a promising panelized brick veneer wall system, refinements are needed to satisfy objectives such as rain screen design with pressure moderation, prevention of air leakage through panel-to-panel joints, water-tight interface of flashing and shelf angle shear keys, optimization of the structural frame part of the panelized system, and development of blast resistant design methods. The research will consists of a major experimental component and an analytical task, which involves development of a three-dimensional finite element modeling capable of capturing composite behavior and to be calibrated using test results. Full-scale experiments on PBVSS wall specimens under out-of-plane simulated high wind loading and also wind driven rain loading, in-plane earthquake simulated racking and out-of- plane ultimate capacity static loading will be conducted. The project will have a positive impact on prefabrication of building components with better quality and minimizing on-the-site construction, which will bring overall savings for the projects. It will also reduce scaffolding related accidents. Opportunities will be provided for undergraduate students (including female students) to work on the proposed project. An extra effort will also be made to recruit a qualified minority student. The PI will work with International Masonry Institute instructors toward training masonry contractor for construction of PBVSS wall system. Finally, the results of the study including video clips of tests will be made available to the public through PI's webpage.

Effective start/end date9/1/078/31/10


  • National Science Foundation: $162,000.00
  • National Science Foundation: $162,000.00


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